If there’s one thing that Shock Rock has proven, it’s that we live in a society which has a fascination for the bad guy, a fascination for the dark underbelly of the world. We’ve seen the likes of Alice Cooper terrorising generations since the 60’s to the rise of the Anti-Christ superstar Marilyn Manson placing America under house arrest. Since the mid 90’s however there’s been an unsung hero lurking in the shadows.
Drawing inspiration from GI Joe to beloved horror movie characters. Wednesday 13 began to make waves with the cross-dressing punk freak show that is The Frankenstein Drag Queens from Planet 13. Very much like tossing GG Allen into a blender with the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and popping the outcome into a dress, slathered in lipstick. The drag queens were something that North Carolina wasn’t prepared for let alone the rest of the world. So much so that this sparked the interest of Drumming Juggernaut Joey Jordison to which the Murderdolls were born. A band that shot Wednesday into the mainstream.
Since the Murderdolls incarnation and a brief reunion, Wednesday has arguably been one of the most consistent artists in the game releasing 6 solo records. Incorporating the tongue in cheek nature of his lyrics with hard hitting metal tinged punk. Wednesday has come a long way since his debut solo record Transylvania 90210. Through the years, it’s easy to see that the world of Horror movies has been a key influence on his writing and output up till 2015’s Monsters of the Universe: Come Out and Plague. Taking a heavier direction and drawing inspiration from conspiracy theorists, Monsters felt like a big turning point in the evolution of Wednesday’s writing and overall sound.
This brings us to album number 7, Condolences.
After signing a deal with major record label Nuclear Blast, Wednesday is back and it’s clear that he means business this time round. Very briefly opening with atmospheric noise not long before a bell gongs and pulverising drums build and build like something is running towards you ready to clothes line your head clean off your shoulders.
‘What the Night Brings’ arrives and does exactly that. With a huge thick textured guitar tone and swinging riff it’s hard not to bang your head within the first few seconds of the song kicking and screaming into life. In comes the sinister voice of Wednesday. Sounding more menacing than he ever has, his vocal delivery really adds a whole new level.
The band sounds tighter than ever with long time axe man Roman Surman adding those layers of horror tinged riffs. ‘Cadaverous’ is up next and this one hits hard. Drummer Troy Doebbler is an absolute power house. Once the initial opening riff greets you, the stomp is relentless. Wednesday’s tongue in cheek lyrics about corpse mutilation are on point as per usual.
‘Blood Sick’ has a real old school feel to it and wouldn’t feel out of place to some of the earlier material on Transylvania 90210 all the while ‘You Breath I Kill’ is a solid groove orientated metal banger, opening with a very Lamb of God Esque riff.
Another stand out is ‘Cruel to you’. For a song that’s subject matter relates to beating someone towards an inch of their life, it can help but bring a smile to your face ultimately due to the lyrics being beyond catchy. After ‘Eulogy XIII’ Condolences takes a darker direction, with ‘Prey for Me’ arguable being one of the heaviest things Wednesday has carved his name on. The title track is where we hear Wednesday really pushing the boundaries though. 7 minutes of pure avant-garde. This track begins with a grandiose gothic orientated piano and then comes a crushing guitar riff. A brooding track from start to finish.
Like a dusk settling, Condolences closes with the track ‘Death Infinity’ which has a soothing feel to it overall with lyrics referring to life after death that genuinely make you sit and think.
Like a cult film Wednesday has built a dedicated fan base over the years within the UK but for a long time it’s felt that he’s never received the credit he deserves both for musical output and live performance. With a headline slot booked for the infamous Download Festival this June can we finally see our unsung hero get the acclaim he deserves? There’s only one way to find out! See you in the pit.
Wednesday 13’s- Condolences out June 2nd on Nuclear blast.